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Sunday November 27, 2022

Prince Andrew settlement allows UK royals to ‘move on’

Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, said the settlement was likely being welcomed by other members of the royal family but noted it did not exonerate the prince.

By AFP
February 16, 2022
Prince Andrew settlement allows UK royals to ‘move on’
Prince Andrew settlement allows UK royals to ‘move on’

London: The settlement announced Tuesday between Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre allows Britain´s monarchy to "move on", just as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates a landmark 70th year on the throne, royal commentators said.

Andrew, 61, has opted against pursuing a jury trial in the US civil case brought against him by Giuffre, who alleges he sexually assaulted her in 2001 when she was 17 and a minor under American law.

Instead, he has agreed to make a "substantial donation" to a charity established by Giuffre that supports trafficking victims, and will no longer be questioned under oath by her lawyers.

However, he continues to deny all the accusations against him.

The decision is seen as not only protecting the prince from further highly damaging revelations and attention, but also helps limit the British monarchy´s exposure to the years-long scandal.

"There´s absolutely no doubt there´ll be an enormous sigh of relief in all the royal households tonight," Roya Nikkhah, royal editor at The Sunday Times newspaper, told Britain´s Channel 4 News.

"The wider royal family would´ve been as eager I think as Andrew not to see this go to trial," she added.

However, Nikkhah noted the institution would recover from the controversy. "The royal family has survived many scandals over the years."

- ´Tainted´ -

As pressure grew on the family to act, the Queen stripped her second, and reportedly favourite son of his honorary military titles and charitable roles last month, leaving him with no public duties.

Under apparent pressure from the military, the Duke of York -- as he is formerly known -- has also been deprived of his military titles and, in an additional humiliation, lost the use of the title of "His Royal Highness".

The collective moves effectively remove him from official royal life.

Andrew had already stepped back from the spotlight following a calamitous 2019 television interview in which he sought to vindicate himself and justify his friendship with the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein took his own life in prison while awaiting trial.

Penny Junor, author of numerous books on the royals, said the monarchy would want the focus this year "on the Queen and her successes and not on the other members of the family".

"If Andrew steps out of the limelight, if there´s no more mention of it in the newspapers... then I think the family can move on -- I think everybody can move on," she told AFP.

Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, said the settlement was likely being welcomed by other members of the royal family but noted it did not exonerate the prince.

"He will, I think, forever be tainted by this scandal," he told Britain´s domestic Press Association news agency.

"I just don´t think he´s ever likely to resume work as a working member of the royal family."

- Platinum Jubilee focus -

Celebrations to mark the Queen´s record-breaking reign are set for early June, with four days of national festivities planned to herald her Platinum Jubilee.

The events, which include a military parade and music concert, street parties, a nationwide "Big Jubilee Lunch" and a "Platinum Pudding Competition", are seen as a key opportunity to renew Britons´ affinity for the institution.

The royals have been shaken by several scandals and setbacks in recent years, such as the departure of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to the United States, with the couple publicly accusing family members of racism.

The Queen then suffered health concerns in October, forcing her to spend a night in hospital, as the passing of the royal baton to her son Charles, 73, looms ever larger.

Britain´s longest-serving monarch recently announced her "sincere wish" that Camilla, his wife, should ultimately be known as Queen Consort.

During her decades-spanning reign, she has been a constant through periods of huge social and political upheaval -- a living link to Britain´s post-war and imperial past -- while remaining steadfastly popular.

However, she has not been entirely immune to occasional criticism and missteps, such as immediately after the death of Princess Diana when she was seen as out of touch with public sentiment.

In a book to be published this year Prince Harry, Charles and Diana´s youngest son, is expected to detail new revelations about life inside the institution, sometimes nicknamed "The Firm".

Citing an anonymous friend of Harry, the Daily Mirror tabloid this month claimed that the book will "shake royals to the core".